I’m incredibly excited to share my Mobility Rx review with you. This is the latest workout program from Mark Lauren, author of the You Are Your Own Gym series. This program uses a collection of core exercises to help you achieve the flexibility and mobility you need to stay at the top of your game. If sitting all day leaves you tired and sore, then this workout might be just what the doctor ordered.
Check out a short introduction to Mobility Rx in the video below:
Long-time readers know how much I love Mark Lauren’s workout programs; You Are Your Own Gym is what started me on the road to hardcore fitness years ago. In fact, it helped me train for my first 5K. So when I heard that he was coming out with a new workout focusing on core mobility, I was all over that like Jillian Michaels on fat people.
You see, I have a condition known as “needing to pay the bills”. Therefore I, along with millions of other people, spend a lot of my day sitting at a desk. I love what I do, but I know that sitting isn’t the healthiest thing in the world. There’s a somewhat terrifying infographic that spells out just how bad sitting all day can be for your health.
When I work out, I go big or go home – but I’ve always wondered if sitting all day was keeping me from reaching my peak potential. Like you, I’m not getting any younger and it feels like it takes a little longer than it used to for my body to recover from a workout. Simple warm-up and cool-down stretches just aren’t cutting it any more.
That’s why I was incredibly excited to get my hands on a copy of Mobility Rx – and I quickly learned that my old hardcore routine didn’t necessarily translate into increased mobility and range of movement!
But first, a little bit about the program.
Mobility Rx – Required Equipment
Guess what – you can do this workout in your living room without any equipment at all! I made use of my yoga mat since I was working out on the hard floor of my home gym, but other than that you’ll just need a wall you can snuggle up to for a few of the exercises. That’s it – no dumbbells, no exercise bands, no inflatable fitness ball. True to the spirit of YAYOG, all you really need to complete this workout is your own body.
Mobility Rx – Warmup Routine
The first video in the set is the ten-minute warmup routine. As you become familiar with the workout routines, you might be tempted to skip the warmup – but don’t! I know that it’s only ten minutes, but those ten minutes get your body prepared for the more intense rounds to follow. In fact, as most good warmup routines do, Mark takes you through scaled-down versions of some of the exercises you’re about to perform. You’ll feel your hips, chest, shoulders and back start to open up and become more limber as Mark talks you through the warmup.
Mark’s constant narration throughout the workout set is one of the reasons I love this program. One of the issues I have with some bodyweight-based workouts, such as PiYo, is that you need to watch the screen to see exactly how to perform the move. But Mark talks you through every move; in fact, the first time I worked through this program I think I only needed to look up twice in 45 minutes to confirm that what I was doing was correct.
The workouts aren’t peppered with motivational speeches, locker-room bro-humor or other distracting elements; it’s just Mark alone, gently guiding you in a Zen manner through each and every move. He even seems to anticipate my sloppy form; while doing squats he instructed “chin back, shoulders back”, which I instantly corrected. How the heck did he know I was doing that?
Once you’ve completed the warmup, it’s on to one of the two included 30 to 35-minute core workouts.
Mobility Rx – Workout One
This workout takes four exercises and rotates them back-to-back through three distinct cycles. Mark starts off the video with a short review of each workout and how it’s performed. As you progress through Rounds 1, 2 and 3, each exercise is modified slightly to make it a bit more challenging. That’s a really smart approach, especially for beginners – if you can’t quite complete the exercises in the higher levels, simply perform the exercise from the previous level. Your goal here is progress, not perfection.
As Mark introduces each exercise, you’re treated to a quick schematic showing which muscle groups are involved. This is a fantastic little touch; it really speaks to the fitness geek in me. If you piece together the muscle groups for each exercise, you’ll see that the complete workout comes very close to a whole-body workout.
I was really surprised at how hard I was working my body. I expected the program to be composed of a lot of stretches and mobility movements – but I was pleasantly surprised that I worked up a real sweat in just 35 minutes with four simple exercises. I could replace one of my normal workouts with a Mobility Rx workout and receive the same calorie-burning benefit.
Two things I learned from this workout: (1) I have terrible flexibility in my shoulders and back as evidenced by my attempts to do the Side Lying Snow Angel, and (2) I definitely appreciated the modification offered by Mark on the Isometric Lunge to ease the pressure on my knees – even with the extra padding I was using on my yoga mat. But as Mark says at the end of this workout: “If you struggled in any way, that’s okay; just keep showing up and you’ll get better and better.” (Seriously – I think Mark was watching me workout. Although he keeps telling me to assume a “pretty posture” – and there’s nothing terribly pretty about my posture when I’m working out!)
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Mobility Rx – Workout Two
Just like Workout One, this workout introduces you to four new exercises, performed back-to-back through three rounds. Like Workout One, a lot of these moves are new to me. I think the real secret to this program is that Mark uses a lot of compound movements that work multiple muscle groups, which not only gives you a great workout but lets you cram in a lot of muscle movement in only 30 minutes.
As before, each round increases in difficulty, and although the modifications introduced in each round don’t seem like they add a lot, you’ll really feel the increase in difficulty. Case in point – the Spider Crawl which looks a lot like Balasana, or Child’s Pose, which is a common resting position in yoga. But by the third round you’re not only stretching out your arms but rotating them outwards while lifting them, which looks easy – but trust me, I’ve never engaged my core muscles quite like this while in Child’s Pose!
If I had to pick between Workout One and Workout Two, this is probably my favorite workout of the two. I have incredibly tight hamstrings, so the Straddle Reach is quite a challenge for me. However, I’m continually amazed at how much better my hams feel after this workout. The Gate Swing Complex is also a fun and challenging move that combines a back lunge raise with a leg motion that really works your balancing abilities and the Spider Crawl just makes you feel great all over.
Other Reasons to Love this Program
Beyond the actual workouts, there’s a few other reasons why I love this program.
The first is that MarkLauren.com offers Mobility Rx as a DRM-free download, so you can put it on your tablet, your phone, your laptop, or any device you have that will play MP4 format files – whatever’s easiest and most convenient for you. I was able to drop these files directly into iTunes on my Mac, which feeds all the Apple TVs in my house. Now no matter what room I’m in, I can do the program – no excuses.
If you’re on the go, no sweat – you can watch the videos right on MarkLauren.com through the embedded player right on the site.
If you’re not a technophile and don’t want to buy these in downloadable format, that’s not a problem either. Mobility Rx should be available in DVD format on Amazon in late 2014 – I’ll update this post when they’re available. To get notified as soon as they’re available, make sure to sign up for my newsletter at the bottom of this page!
I know the first question that people will ask: “Can I do both workouts together?” If you want a killer 60 minute bodyweight and flexibility workout, I’d say “absolutely!” Workout One focuses a little more on lower back movements, while Workout Two seems to put more emphasis on hams and shoulders; together they are a powerful full body workout that will challenge even the fittest people.
I know a lot of you will also ask “Can I combine this with YAYOG/PiYo/BodyBeast/whatever?” Absolutely. I am more into the weightlifting at this point in my fitness routines, so I plan to incorporate this after a hard lifting session to really stretch out my various muscle groups and head off the after-effects of a heavy weights session. There’s no reason you couldn’t incorporate this with any other workout.
Finally, I haven’t seen a lot of the movements in Mobility Rx before; some of them are familiar to me, but ones like the Side Lying Snow Angel challenge my flexibility in ways I’ve never dreamed of. I thought I’d already been doing a good job of mixing up my workout routines on a regular basis to avoid letting poor form compromise my performance, but a lot of the movements in this program made me realize that I haven’t been paying enough attention to my back and lower body mobility. It’s guaranteed that I’ll be paying more attention to these areas when I next re-design my workout schedule.
Where to Get Mobility Rx
As of this writing, you can purchase the program and instantly download it at MarkLauren.com; you’re given several attempts to download the files so if something screws up with the file download, or your hard drive dies, you won’t lose your purchase. That’s pretty cool.
As I mentioned before, the physical DVDs for this program should also be available on Amazon sometime in 2014; I’ll update this post and notify the Body Moment Community as well – you can sign up below, if you haven’t done so already. **EDIT: The You Are Your Own Gym Facebook Page notes : “The DVDs will be available at Amazon.com on Nov. 24th. We don’t have a release date for the German translation, but we’re working on it.” I’ll keep an eye on the availability of the DVDs and let you know when I see them offered for sale!
***SPECIAL NOTE: Until Nov 30, 2014, if you order Mobility Rx at MarkLauren.com, you can get a copy of Mark Lauren’s EFX: Postural Bodyweight Training for 50% off! Click here to take advantage of this offer!***
The Bottom Line
I think the best workout programs follow a few standard principles:
- They should be adaptable for people at varying levels of fitness
- They should require a minimum of equipment
- They should promote whole-body movement
- They should promote good form and posture while working out
- They should be affordable
Mobility Rx ticks all of the above boxes. It’s refreshing in this day and age to find a great workout that doesn’t rely on glitz, glamour or marketing hype to succeed – and I’ve always felt that way about the Mark Lauren series of programs. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed, either.